Friday, July 31, 2015

August 2015 Desktop atricle

“And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher.  And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying ‘This is the way, walk in it’, when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.”
(Isaiah 30:20-21  ESV)
            The latter part of this passage was our key verse for this past week of VBS, and a great lesson for the kids to learn, but I think there is something in there for the adults as well.  Our daily theme for Thursday was to “Stay on Track”.  Even when the way is uncertain, even when others might try to pull us in a different direction, we are to stay on track.
            The song that went along with that theme encouraged us to “stay on track, never look back, keeping our eyes on Jesus!”  There are so many things that the devil uses to try to discourage us, to distract us, to raise doubts and fears in our minds.  If we allow ourselves to become preoccupied by those things, we get off track, and not only is our work for Him diminished, but our minds can become so troubled that we end up being paralyzed, unable to make any headway for a time.
            Part of the benefit of belonging to a local church is that we can help each other to stay on track.  When life gets difficult, or extremely busy, or for whatever reason we are away for a period of time, the body is there to come along side, and help us to get back on track, help us through the difficult periods, and keep moving forward in our walk with God.
            When the church comes together to work together in this way, it is the added benefit of us putting aside some of the less important things that we can become focused on that are not really a part of us reaching our goal as a church—which is to see lives transformed by the power of Jesus Christ.  We can get wrapped up in temporary things which, in light of eternity, really aren’t significant.  But when we set those aside, and focus on caring for one another, helping one another, helping share the love of Christ together, all those lesser things are left behind.
            I’m reminded of another hymn, this one written by Helen Lemmel in 1922:  “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face, And the things of this earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”
            Our daily themes from Lifeway’s Journey Off the Map VBS were: Know your Guide, Follow Your Guide, Trust your Guide, Stay on Track, and Keep Watching”.  We need to know who our Guide is, and only Jesus can guide us where we need to go.  We need to follow that guide, as it isn’t enough to know who He is, we need to follow Him.  We need to trust that He knows the right way, even when we are pressured to go a different way.  We need to stay on track, because life throws lots of distractions our way to get us to take unhealthy detours.  And finally we need to keep watching, watching for further instructions as God draws us closer to Him, and watching for Him to return for us to take us home with Him, as He has promised.
            These were great themes for VBS, but they’re not just for the little children.  Those themes are great themes for us as adults to live by as well.  It may well be that the Lord will allow adversity and/or affliction to come our way, but His goal, even in this, is to draw us close to Himself so that we would come to lean and depend on Him more and more.  He is a trustworthy God, who keeps His promises, and always has our best in mind.  We can trust that He knows what the best is ultimately for us. 
By His Grace Alone,
Pastor Bruce Jacobsen

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Pastor's Desktop article for July 2015

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God man be competent, equipped for every good work.”
(2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV)
            Much has been said and written about the recent Supreme Court decision to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide.  Many evangelical pastors, authors, and others have made great points, and have done well to explain why they hold to the position they have.  But I’ve not seen nor heard too many talk about why we are even at this juncture though, and I believe that it has much to do with a person’s or culture’s view on the authority of Scripture.           
            When we fail to accept the Bible as the Word of God, when we look to other sources to establish what truth is, we discount the authority of Scripture.  When we allow our emotions to govern our beliefs, when we feel that somehow we are now more knowledgeable about certain matters than the men who penned the words of Scripture under the power and inspiration of the Holy Spirit, we discount the authority of Scripture.
            Who are we to discount the authority of the written Word that God has given us?  It has been inspired by Almighty God, Sovereign over all things, all-knowing, all-powerful, eternal, all-present, forever faithful, and worthy of the highest esteem, honor and glory.  It is the epitome of the arrogance of man to think that he is wiser than God. 
            We tend to lose confidence in the Bible as the inspired Word of God when we neglect taking the time to read and study the Bible.  When we fail to be in the Word regularly, reading not only from the New Testament, but also from the Old Testament, we lose sight of the nature of the God we claim to serve.  When we lose sight of the nature of the God we claim to serve, our love and respect for Him wanes, as does the level of our personal holiness.
            A day is coming in this great land we call home when the church will be winnowed like a modern farm combine separates the grain from the straw.  Those who have thought of the church as a nice place to be on Sundays, a great club to belong to, and regular attendance is our religious duty to maintain will slip away into the shadows.  Those who remain will be those like Peter, when after covering a hard teaching about His being the Bread of Life in John 6 and many left the group of disciples, and Jesus asked His 12, “Do you want to go away as well?”, he responded, “Lord, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”
            For the true church, leaving is not an option, denying the faith, departing from the authority of Scripture are not options, because they are truth.  There is only one God; only one Name under heaven by which men may be saved, and that Name is Jesus.  Only He can save us, only He can give us hope beyond the grave.  Where else would we go?  To deny all that, to claim that it is no longer valid or useful would be for the church the same as saying we can go on living without breathing. 
            “The Church’s one foundation is Jesus Christ her Lord; she is His new creation by water and the Word; from heav’n He came and sought her to be His holy bride; with His own blood He bought her, and for her life He died.” (Samuel J. Stone, The Church’s One Foundation v 1. Public Domain)
By His Grace Alone,
Pastor Bruce Jacobsen